Well, we had a fantastic time, both at the Bruce concert and in Amsterdam. It was a really memorable trip – long flight but memorable trip. The first day we arrived in Paris about 4pm and our daughter had reservations at what was reported to be one of the ten best restaurants in Paris. I forget the name, no worries, we’ll never go back. All of us agreed the place was overrated. But it was great to walk around the first evening and get a sense. That was Tuesday (we left Monday night from MEX).
The next day, Wednesday, was the Bruce concert but first, a private boat charter with some Taittinger champagne and cheese and bread. We didn’t eat much cheese and bread. We drank three bottles – three of us. And had a hoot. Made a video of me tossing my hair in the wind with the Eiffel Tower in the background and The Ballad of Lucy Jordan as a soundtrack. And not just because my daughter’s cinematographer was with us (they’re on their way to Africa to get some more documentary footage, among other things). We half planned this – once the Bruce concert in Amsterdam wasn’t a possibility, we chose Paris because it was convenient, and we could live out that Lucy Jordan song. The royal we. C’s tooth was still acting up (for the last time, thankfully), so he was resting at home.
Oh, home in Paris was a a gorgeous loft cottage (above and below), on the right bank in the 10th Arr. It was too perfect and almost on the canal. We sat at the big table most of the time we were in the house. Stunning place if anyone wants the details, go to Air BnB and search Paris, 50 Rue Bichat. The lodging was top rate. But the best part of that leg, without a doubt, was driving down the Seine, listening to Marianne Faithful with the warm wind in my hair. And no, it wasn’t a sports car – but it was a private yacht so I think that’s a reasonable facsimile.
Bruce was incredible, as always. He worked a lot with Stevie this show (but that’s Jake in the photo) – Patti wasn’t there, not sure why. It was mostly The River but he did an incredible acoustic Thunder Road at the end. It was all too perfect. Being there was more important than the show, if that makes sense.
The next day was Bastille Day, so we just hung out and wandered around and ate escargot and French onion soup (what else?). The houses were sweet and cute – the streets were lovely, it’s a very charming city. But pretentious as hell. Snotty people (not that any of us really gave a FF though). And the food wasn’t that great (and we ate at some nice places). I have no desire to go back. I’d have no problem going back on business – there was nothing bad about it. But not for pleasure and not on my dime. Not my style. Interestingly enough, we all agreed. My daughter’s been there dozens of times on business and is so unimpressed she stays at the airport, hits the shows and comes home.
We left the next morning for Amsterdam and our daughter et al headed for Africa (this whole trip was a gift from the kids for Christmas). And Amsterdam was totally my style. Egads, we both loved it. A lot. If I’d made it over there when I was 16, I would have never returned to North America. It’s too cold for us now (weather similar to Vancouver) but would have seemed positively balmy after growing up in Toronto. We loved everything -the food (much more than Paris), the flowers (at least as good, probably a day fresher and way cheaper), the people (nice, friendly, down to earth and a little quirky). There was just something about it. In Paris, everyone had glasses of wine at the outdoor cafes. In Amsterdam, they have beer. We went to the MoCo to see a Banksy/Wharhol Exhibit and to the Van Gogh but then things were getting crowded so we stopped with the museums. We’re going to try to return for a month every spring (when it’s particularly hot in central Mexico).
We walked everywhere. Total of 22 miles in four days. And we rode the trolley. And took a river cruise. Explored different hoods. We ate croquettes (my favorite) and chocolate and drank Heineken. Had Eggs Benedict that were to die for (Hollandaise sauce, makes sense). Oh yeah, when you order “a beer” there, you get Heineken. How perfect is that? We did a walking tour and learned a lot of the history from the 60s and the Provo group (the socialist movement). A lot about the “coffee shops” and the laws and how it came to be. Interesting city. To consider something, the city asks three questions. 1) Does it hurt anybody? 2) Is it good for business? 3) Is it discreet? And in Amsterdam, rules are made to be bent. That’s almost the city motto.
There are not many cars. It was explained to us on the first day. Amsterdam decided a long time ago that cars don’t work. They really don’t use them much in the city center and when they are present, most are electric (charges for your car on every corner). Even the Heineken truck above is electric. Makes little noise. And bicycles. Everywhere. Everyone rides a bike. Or the electric trolley. Its an amazing city. Even gorgeous refurbished 17th century buildings have solar panels. When I think about it, they’ve had windmills forever.
Such a peaceful city. And in 22 miles of walking in heavily-populated tourist areas, we finally saw two policemen. That’s wild. It’s such a quiet city. Incredibly serene. I have hundreds of photos. I might have to share a few more.
And then we flew home and here we are, feeling very blessed. And very busy playing catch up (we know it’s late but we can make it if we run). Lots of other stuff going on, but I’ll save that for another post, I wanted to get some photos of the trip up and I haven’t posted in a while so I didn’t want you to forget me. I’ll be back soon. Orale.